Not Cold Enough

Perhaps it was the very light overnight frost that led the blackbirds to investigate the neglected crab apples in the front garden.

This one turned its back on them and considerately stayed just long enough for me to photograph it.

We still have plenty of colour in our plot.

There are winter flowering plants such as this viburnum bodnantensis Dawn in Margery’s Bed,

and the tiny clematis cirrhosa Freckles dotted over the gazebo.

Hardy autumnal chrysanthemums we do expect;

maybe some of these fuchsias are tough enough to make it through the winter;

but self seeded bidens?;

still perky nasturtiums?;

sturdy penstemons?;

varieties of geranium not sheltered in the greenhouse?;

roses such as ascending Altissimo,

blushing Schoolgirl,

marvellous Mamma Mia,

and blooming Absolutely Fabulous?

To send these beauties packing it is not yet cold enough.

This evening Jackie produced a fillet of pork laced with powdered mustard, flaked almonds, and brown sugar, served with roast potatoes and parsnips; colourful rainbow carrots, firm Brussels sprouts, and tender runner beans. Having enjoyed a beer beforehand, neither of us imbibed.

 

 

 

Strange Courtship

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This morning we drove out to Eyeworth Pond and back.

Yesterday evening I described the heavy rain that pummelled the pavement. It continued throughout the night. This is what it did to

Brockenhurst’s landscaped lawns,

and to its ford.

Some vehicles travelled through the water with caution;

others ripped through them; still more turned around and chose another route.

Cyclists used the bridge. I did point out to a couple of these that last year, not only had a pair of them whizzed through the flood, but they had responded to my request to do it again. These two did not accept my challenge. Perhaps I wasn’t direct enough.

On Eyeworth Pond a pair of Canada geese floated around, and occasionally went fishing.

The Mallards were in full courting mode. Sometimes the ladies were encircled by the males, sometimes chased around. At times I wasn’t sure the females were not making the paddling.

One couple did appear to be engaged in a strange courtship involving rear displays and synchronised diving.

Spray formed on a clear pool now covering terrain that normally provided forage for ponies.

A somewhat quizzical blackbird investigated the seeds left on the gatepost to the woodland walk.

A blue tit eyed me from a holly bush,

Robin

as did a solitary robin.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole served with slightly orange tinged creamy mashed potato and swede, bright orange carrots, off white cauliflower, pale green sautéed leeks, and deep red cabbage. Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank San Andres Chilean merlot.

A Conundrum 2

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We took it easy today. Prompted by today’s post from thebikinggardener I wandered around the garden to see how our Hellebores are doing.

Some way behind Geoff’s, ours are coming through.

Many primulas have so far survived the winter.

Mist on cherub

The shattered bits of cherub Jackie found in the undergrowth a couple of years ago have gained a fine coating of moss.

Honesty and weeping birch

The remnants of honesty, hollowing ovals on stems, blends well with the weeping birch bark.

The parent viburnum Bontantense and its two children are blooming well. One joins with a leycesteria in beginning to mask Aaron’s new fencing.

Winter flowering cherry

Alongside the winter flowering cherry

Blackbird

and beneath the crab apples, a blackbird dropped down for a change of diet.

Pieris

This pieris takes my mind off the fact that the grass needs cutting.

Hydrangea

A few youthful pink cheeks survive amid those ageing, wrinkly, and skeletal ones of this hydrangea.

Eggshells on new bed

Finally, the conundrum. Who has dragged a clutch of eggshells from the compost heap across the New Bed? Well, we did spot a rat, hands and nose pressed to the pane, peering, like Tiny Tim, through our window when we ate our Christmas dinner.

Just before 4.30 p.m., we dashed out to Barton on Sea to watch the sun sink into Christchurch Bay. I did not stage the photograph of the woman kicking it back up into the sky.

A while later we dined at Lal Quilla. My choice was lamb shatkora massala; Jackie’s prawn sallee. We shared an egg paratha, mushroom rice, and sag bahji; and both drank Kingfisher.

Mastering The Technique

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Well, I’m still struggling to upload photographs. James Peacock came this morning to get fibre optic broadband under way, but BT Open Reach had not taken the last step in installation. This appears to have been done late this afternoon so James will return tomorrow.

While James was wrestling with this, I chatted to a blackbird enjoying a brunch of crab apples. This one has now mastered the technique of chipping away at the fruit without knocking it to the ground. The bird no longer attempts to swallow the meal whole, but neither does it lose it like a toddler learning to use a fork. In fact it was very like a little person, in that bits of food tended to be plastered over its beak.

Our friends Margery and Paul came to lunch and we enjoyed our usual fun conversation well into the afternoon. Jackie made a delicious spinach soup which was followed by a plentiful salad with haloumi, ham, and pork and chicken pie. After that, ham sandwiches sufficed this evening.

Alfresco Dining

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There are still plenty enough crab apples on our trees to attract blackbirds daily. This morning I watched them eating. They are quite territorial over their meal table, tending to deter unwelcome guests. They prefer to approach the fruit on the higher branches. If they do not drop them onto the plants below, they are capable of swallowing them in one go.

Later this afternoon, diverting to observe the beach huts burnished by sunset over Friars Cliff, we drove to Curry’s/PC World at Christchurch for some Christmas shopping.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My choice was Purple Tiger (tiger prawns and aubergine) and Jackie chose Harayali chicken (not sure if I’ve spelled it correctly, but it is spinach based). We shared mushroom rice, tarka dal, and a paratha; and both drank Kingfisher.

Watching

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Today was pretty murky. This morning, through the window I watched blackbirds feeding on crab apples. They generally dropped the fruit onto the ground, flew down and ate them where they fell.

This afternoon and early evening was spent watching rugby on T.V.

First came Scotland (in striped shirts) v. Georgia (in red).

Wales (in red) v. South Africa (in green) was to follow.

Finally we had England (in dark blue) v. Argentina (in blue and white stripes).

Any text would be in danger of spoiling. That lets me of the hook.

Jackie collected a takeaway meal from The Raj in Old Milton for ou evening meal. She drank Hoegaarden whilst I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014. My main meal was naga prawn with special fried rice; we shared poppadoms, pooris, paratha, and sag bahji.

 

The Colour Wheel

More clearing up of clippings was required this morning. On my way through the garden, I had a chat with our friendly baby blackbird. Since its father no longer, from a safe distance, follows it around he must have decided this little creature, who has known us all its brief life, can fend for itself.

Blackbird baby

The cocked head indicates a listening ear.

For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only, Rose of the Year 2015, has its first bloom.

color-wheel

According to basic colour theory,  analogous colours are any three which are side by side on a 12 part colour wheel, such as yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. Usually one of the three shades predominates. Complementary colours are any two which are directly opposite each other, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green.

Cricket on dahlia

I think this tiny yellow-green cricket, distinguishable from it’s grasshopper relative by the length of its pearly antennae, must have been studying this, as it perched on a red dahlia with violet-tinged petals, and yellow, orange-shaded stamens. Analogous or complimentary? Food for thought.

I became quite excited when I noticed an exotic new butterfly resting on a pink hydrangea.

Rose petal on dahlia

It proved to be a fallen rose petal.

Margery and Paul came for a visit this afternoon. As always, we had enjoyable conversation, then made a tour of the garden. Our friends were suitably appreciative of the changes made during the last year.

Jackie and I dined this evening on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, Garner’s pickled onions, and Freshona gherkins. My  lady drank Hoegaarden, and I abstained.